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AP Photo / John Locher


Pound-for-pounder Naoya Inoue will attempt to become a two-time undisputed champion when he faces fellow 122-pound titleholder Marlon Tapales on Tuesday.

NAOYA INOUE (25-0, 22 KOs)vs. MARLON TAPALES (37-3, 19 KOs)

Date: Tuesday, Dec. 26
Time: 3 a.m. ET / midnight PT (main event later in show)
Where: Ariake Arena, Tokyo
TV/Stream: ESPN+
Division: Junior featherweight (122 pounds)
At stake: Tapales’ IBF and WBA, and Inoue’s WBC and WBO titles
Odds: 12½-1 favorite (average of multiple outlets)
Also on the card: Seiya Tsutsumi vs. Kazuki Anaguchi, bantamweights

Background: Inoue, No. 2 on Boxing Junkie’s pound-for-pound list, might be the most unbeatable fighter in the world. “The Monster,” a four-division titleholder with no obvious flaws, has been all but untouchable in his decade-long career. Future Hall of Famer Nonito Donaire was the only fighter who gave Inoue significant resistance but the Japanese star fought with a broken orbital bone and still won a one-sided decision. Plus, he knocked out Donaire in a rematch. The 30-year-old is coming off an eighth-round knockout of Stephen Fulton in July, which earned him his two 122-pound titles. If he beats Tapales, he will become a two-time undisputed champion. He held all four 118-pound titles less than a year ago. He has recorded six consecutive knockouts since the first fight with Donaire. Tapales has been a contender for almost a decade but didn’t have a break through victory until his most recent fight, a split decision over previously unbeaten Murodjon Akhmadaliev that earned him his two world titles in April. The 31-year-old southpaw from the Philippines is a good, experienced all-around fighter but probably not a threat to the gifted Inoue.



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